Let’s talk about COVID for a few minutes.
It seems to me that the epidemic has clearly exposed a number of contradictions in the thought process and the actions of many American Christians.
Across the US, 674,000 Americans died from COVID between March 2020 and September 2021. That’s very nearly the same number of infants who were never born because of abortion during the same time frame. Many of those COVID deaths were among the weak and infirm.
Yet the very group that is the most vocal about stopping abortion is also the group agitating the loudest against masking and vaccination and activity restrictions.
That same group has also been the one historically arguing the loudest against the pro-abortion “my body, my choice” position. But they are also the very same ones who are now pushing back the hardest against mask requirements, vaccine mandates, and venues that require proof of vaccination to enter. It’s gotten so upside down that numerous evangelical pastors around America have even forbidden masked people from entering their churches, and telling them that they’re going to hell if they get vaccinated.
The very group that for years has vigorously opposed voluntary euthanasia because they say it violates the sanctity of human life – even though it’s voluntary – is now quite actively opposing measures explicitly designed to save the lives of millions of elderly and frail among us.
In short, the Christian pro-fetal-life lobby has suddenly taken a decidedly non-pro-life position for those already born.
From my perspective, anyone who claims to be “pro-life” should be doing everything possible to reduce the risk of COVID affecting those around us, just as vocally as fighting to reduce abortions or euthanasia.
Why the Opposition?
Is the difference that anti-COVID measures require personal inconvenience and self-sacrifice?
Truth be told, for many years, opposing abortion or euthanasia or “my body, my choice” only has really involved adjusting how we vote and maybe giving a bit more money to our church or a local pregnancy care center. Not much personal sacrifice has been required for the average Christian to feel good about their position. In short, we pro-life Christians have been very vocal without much other change in our lives. Very few have deeply sacrificed for the pro-life cause.
Just like the racism debates of the last year, anti-COVID measures have exposed some things about us that I think that we would rather not admit. I’d go so far – as many atheists and agnostics and even liberal Christians have – in calling it rank hypocrisy.
It’s therefore very unsurprising to me how many of my fellow Christians are actively and very vocally walking away from the evangelical branch of the American church. Just like the unbelivers, they see it for what it is, and are unwilling to support it any longer.
As I discussed in a previous post titled “How to Cause a Revolution,” it’s clear to me that our own choices are making Christianity deeply noxious to those around us. We need to change, and I think the Lord is speaking that message to any who will hear. And the response cannot be “Let’s stop talking about divisive things, and focus on the Lord, and He will bring change.” Change starts with a call to repentance. I think the Lord has already started speaking to His church, and it begins with
If my people, who are called by my name,
will humble themselves and pray and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven,
and I will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV)
It’s our same God who said in Isaiah 1,
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices —
what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations —
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
21 See how the faithful city
has become a prostitute!
She once was full of justice;
righteousness used to dwell in her —
but now murderers! (NIV)
This is a strong word, but I think it’s critical that we pay attention. All our religious services and our talk of freedom to worship mean nothing to the Lord, in the face of the hypocrisy and bloodshed and failure to defend the weak. He even says He finds them detestable and unbearable.
So I pray:
Lord, be patient with us, change our hearts, and help us to see Your ways and hear Your voice, and turn back to You before Your justice must be unleashed upon us.